I've been downloading songs, movies, and programs from the Internet for a few years, even before having broadband access. Granted, in those days of my 56k it was much more difficult than it is now. But all I ever hear from the RIAA and the MPAA are about copyright infringement, how we're 'stealing', how very bad it all is. Well, personally, I think that's all bullsh*t. My reasons for downloading may very well be different from the rest of the world, but let me go back to when I became a fan of the MP3.
Let's face it folks - radio sucks large amounts of @ss now. Gone are the days of the DJ who would sneak in a few of his favorite cuts during his show, even though they were from a largely unknown band, or it was a track on an album that wasn't set up to be released as a single. They had a love of music and wanted to share it. We used to have a DJ with a midnight to 2am radio show, and during his 2 hours I would hear some of the most amazing stuff. I'd even tape his show, because he didn't talk over songs, and then scurry out days later and buy the stuff I heard. Then, of course, I had friends would turn me onto obscure bands (I'm 33 people, trust me when I say obscure *lol*), we'd make each other tapes, and it was filesharing in its grass roots. Even a phrase as simple as "Wanna borrow my cd?" is filesharing, when you get down to brass tax.
ClearChannel Communications have basically ruined radio for the person like me. We want new music, not what you chose to spoonfeed us. Even our 'alternative' radio station, which broadcast from Pittsburgh PA (and me living in Ohio I can barely get the signal) has gotten a little predictable with their rotation schedule - probably because it's all programmed in. Why even have DJs if you're going to suck the musical life out of them to have them play songs on the approved format list? It makes me sick.
Thanks in part to Napster during its heyday, I have been turned onto some older, 'classic' rock type music that I would have never just gone out and purchased otherwise. I am a die hard Pink Floyd fan now. Zeppelin, the Stones, the Doors, Hendrix... that's all good stuff. There are so many bands that I listen to now that I know before I wouldn't have bothered with, and it was because of filesharing. I was able to look for a certain artist, download some songs from them, and you betta believe I have that stuff in my CD collection now. You now sometimes hear a song on radio, and if you rush out to buy the CD based on that one song, what a disappointment it is to find that it's the ONLY good song on the entire disk. And ya think the store is taking it back? Doubtful.
Filesharing of music, to a true music lover, opens their mind up to new stuff, plain and simple. The RIAA whines and complains about sales being low and they want to blame it on filesharing when the real monster clogging up their money wheels are themselves. What happened to the days when people formed a band, fought like hell to get their music heard by record execs, and finally, after years of struggle, got a break? Thanks to shows like American Idol, Making the Band, and Star Search, they don't happen often enough.
People sharing their music files is what has made me open up my mind to a world of music I would have never heard otherwise. Won't get any apology outta me for that, nope, never.
I didn't get movies to watch until probably 2 years ago. I, like everyone else in America, trudged out to the theaters to see movies. Our local theater has THE worst seats, horrible sound, and after seeing "Girl, Interrupted" at this theater, I decided to never, ever go back. I found a theater a few months later that is a 30 minute drive from me. It's clean, has stadium seating, widescreens in every theater, the armrest flip up (for improved snuggling), they have videogames, and you can butter your own popcorn! I was at this place 2 or 3 times a week seeing movies, sometimes the same one more than once if it was good.
In 2001, I saw previews at apple.com for all these movies that were coming out around the time I was going to have major surgery. I was off my feet for about 4 months. That's when I started downloading movies. Most of the time, the quality isn't all that great (if it's a movie with special effects, forget downloading, I'm at the theater!, but if you are desperate to see something it's a quick fix. I feel that people want the freedom to be able to watch a movie when they want to, and without leaving the house. I tell ya... I think if new movies were released on the Internet for a nominal fee for a digital 'ticket', there would be less downloading. I'm waiting for Blockbuster to hop on the bandwagon and find some system that will let people rent a movie by streaming it to their PC. But that's probably a long ways off.
Yeah I'm rambling.... cuz I just looked at all these posts from people talking about how their ISPs are sending them letters about what they download and it makes me sick. If these companies were still in it for reasons other than money, this wouldn't be an issue. I honestly don't believe that the majority of people are downloading for the sole purpose of 'stealing', I guess I believe that because I'm not. I downloaded Donnie Darko around the holidays last year, watched it 8 or 9 times, then bought the DVD so I could watch it with the Director's Commentary enabled....
I'd just like to keep believing that most people downloading are just like me - borrowing something for a short time. Anyways... just my lengthy rant. I'm off to watch "Half Past Dead" ......on DVD.